Teacher Leaders Supporting the Implementation of Instructional Materials
Teacher leaders – current or former classroom teachers working with other classroom teachers and other educators in the school or district – are present in many reform efforts in mathematics and science education. Teacher leaders may engage in a variety of practices that support classroom teachers' implementation of instructional materials, such as giving demonstration lessons, providing professional development, or lesson planning. Teacher leaders can focus on a number of aspects of implementation, such as implementing materials with fidelity and negotiating what constitutes “mindful” rather than “mechanistic” use, promoting teachers' understanding of the conceptual flow of the materials, or supporting teachers’ use of new pedagogical strategies. Regardless of the practices used or the focus of teacher leaders' work with teachers, these efforts are intended to impact the extent and quality of teachers' use of instructional materials in implementing the intended math or science curricula.
Practice-Based Insights on Teacher Leaders Supporting the Implementation of Instructional Materials
Advice from experienced practitioners offers guidance to those involved in teacher leader work that supports implementation of instructional materials. Insights provided by a group of expert practitioners with diverse backgrounds and experiences in working with teachers included the following ideas:
- Understand the issues – Teacher leaders need to become familiar with the content of the materials and how that content may be challenging for teachers and students.
- Why these materials? – Make sure that teacher leaders understand the philosophy and overall pedagogy of the instructional materials being implemented.
- Been there, done that – Advocate that teacher leaders have prior experience using the instructional materials they are helping classroom teachers implement.
- Ready or not? – Teacher leaders need to be able to help teachers understand and work through their reluctance to implement the instructional materials.
- Get priorities straight – Teacher leaders need to help keep teachers focused on the content and pedagogy of the new instructional materials.
- Support from the top – Secure administrator support for teacher leader work implementing instructional materials.
- Only the best – Support teacher leaders in advocating for the highest-quality instructional materials available.
Teacher Leadership Matters
Empirical evidence shows that teacher leaders' practice impacts teachers' instructional practice and, in some studies, provides evidence of positive impact on student outcomes. Findings across studies include:
- Teacher leaders' practice, particularly in providing instructional support to teachers, impacts teachers' classroom practice.
- Teacher leaders' practice occurs in a larger context of conditions that impact teachers' practice.
- Teacher leaders' practice is related to positive student outcomes.
Research on Teacher Leaders Supporting the Implementation of Instructional Materials
In a review of the published empirical literature, thirty one research studies were identified in which teacher leaders provided support to teachers’ implementation of instructional materials. These studies examined three aspects of this form of teacher leader practice. One set of studies investigated which practices teacher leaders engaged in when providing such support. Analysis across these studies revealed that teacher leaders used a variety of practices in their work with teachers to implement instructional materials. These findings were consistent in studies across grade levels and subject areas. Another set of studies examined the relationship between teacher leader knowledge and their support to teachers in the implementation of instructional materials. These studies, representing research across mathematics and science and a variety of grade levels, indicated that deeper knowledge of pedagogy and subject matter content impacts teacher leaders' support to classroom teachers. A third set of studies investigated the impact of teacher leader support on classroom teachers’ implementation of instructional materials. These studies reported positive impact, although the type of impact and form of teacher leader support varied.Learn more about research on teacher leaders' support of teachers' implementation of instructional materials